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Hercules Movie and Differences Between Disney's Interpretation and the Greek Myth
Most everyone is aware of the reputation Disney hold's for 'butchering' classic stories and for putting a happy-go-lucky spin on history. Now, I love Disney as much as the next person, especially as a mother of two young children. At first glance there are a few major differences between the classic Greek myth and the Disney rendition. One of the biggest inconsistencies that I immediately found was while all the other characters in the movie use their Greek names, Hercules goes by his Roman name instead of his Greek name, Heracles. While this does not make the Disney version wrong, it just doesn't flow the same, when choosing the names of the characters, why not be historically correct and use either all Greek or all Roman names for the Gods and Goddesses.
Another major inconsistency in the Disney version from the classic version is that Disney portrays Hercules mother as being Hera. While Hera is Zues' wife, she is not the mother of Hercules. Hercule's was actually the 'love-child' of one of Zues' infidelities with a mortal woman named Alcmene. In the actual myth Hera hated Hercules and even went so far as attempting to have him killed. To Hera, Hercules was a living-breating reminder of her husband's unfaithful relationship with Alcmene. Now, from Disney's perspective I believe that this omission might be justifiable as this is a children's movie, and infidelity is not a topic that should be breached with the younger crowd. This is something that they would simply not understand. So Disney changed the myth from having Hera sending snakes to kill Hercules, to having the snakes being sent by Hades.
Hades is also a character that was portrayed as someone he is not in the Disney version of the Hercules myth. Disney portrayed Hades as being Satan rather than the God of the Underworld. In Greek mythology Hades was a respected God, like all the others, who just happened to rule over the Underworld. This does not make him the Devil. In fact, not only was he God of the underworld, but he was a devoted husband to Persephone. Disney shows Hercules as going to the underworld to retrieve Megara's soul, however in the myth Hercules descends into the underworld to get Cerberus for Eurystheus.
Megara is in the underworld, according to Disney, because she had sold her soul to Hades. There is no evidence or mention of Hades buying or bartering souls in Greek mythology. This is another example of how Disney portrayed Hades as being the Devil and not the Greek God that he truly was. According to Greek mythology, Hercules actually kills Megara.
Disney ends the movie with the notion that Hercules chooses to stay with Megara to live as a mortal. However, Hercules actually dies and earns immortality staying in Olympus and marrying Hera's daughter Hebe. This is another fact that I can understand Disney rewriting, because it has to do with remarrying. As I said before I can understand that Disney has chose to change some of these facts, as they do not make for a good Children's story. However, rather than changing facts, why not just omit certain things all together?